Roger Marsh: Hello Everyone. This is Roger Marsh for Family Talk. Some of the content discussed on the program is really intended for more mature audiences, so if you have little ones listening in right now, parental discretion is advised.
Welcome to another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Your host is psychologist and bestselling author Dr. James Dobson. I'm Roger Marsh, and last time here on the broadcast, we enjoyed the first part of a challenging program that we've titled "Positive Parenting." Before we jump into the program, let me go ahead and reintroduce our guest. The late Zig Ziglar was a well-known motivational speaker and salesman, bestselling author of multiple books, including the one we're going to be talking about in this conversation today, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. Zig Ziglar was the husband of Jane Ziglar and the father of four kids, as well as a beloved grandfather to many. Sadly, he passed away in 2012, but fortunately we have the benefit of his recorded wisdom to listen to today. Here now is Dr. James Dobson, along with the late Zig Ziglar on this edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Well, our guest again today is Zig Ziglar, who is known to millions of our listeners around the country and was here last time discussing his book, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. It's published by Oliver Nelson. And as you'll hear today, if you didn't hear last time, it is loaded with practical information from the first page to the last. You love the Lord, don't you?
Zig Ziglar: Oh, sure I do.
Dr. Dobson: In fact, on your lapel, Zig, you have a little gold fish, the symbol for the Christian faith and a seven across it. I bit, I asked. Tell others what that means.
Zig Ziglar: Jim, when I committed my life to Christ on that July 4th weekend, back in 1972, I'd been a salesman all of my life. And I knew that the most effective way to make a "sale" was to get people to ask questions. And so I asked God to give me an effective witnessing tool because I knew if I could get people to ask, then I could more freely share my faith. And he gave me the idea of the seven. And the standard question is, "Well, I know what the fish is, but what's the seven?" And then I say, "Well, the seven is my reminder that there are seven days in every week, and they all belong to Jesus Christ. I don't worship a part-time Lord. So I don't serve him on a part time basis."
Dr. Dobson: And the conversation flows out of that?
Zig Ziglar: Well, I ask a specific question and let me ask you, do you know Jesus Christ personally? And I have a little brochure that enables me to lead them through a commitment stage to accept Christ as Lord. It's been very effective.
Dr. Dobson: As we finished last time, Zig, we were talking about how to make your kids feel like winners, how to treat them like winners, how to make them go out into life knowing that they've got what it takes to compete. There are obviously youngsters who have more difficulty with that self-acceptance than others. I'm thinking of the handicapped child or the unattractive child. Can you make that child feel like a winner? And if so, how do you go about it?
Zig Ziglar: Obviously I believe that you can, although I certainly concur that it is more difficult for them. I think the beginning point there is the complete acceptance and love for that child. If the child knows that his parents love him unconditionally, that he doesn't have to do or be anything except the fact that he is their child, that gives him a running start. Because, as I've heard you say, if a child rationalizes that even his own parents don't love him, then maybe he doesn't deserve love. So, that's your beginning point.
The second point is the expression of that love. In working with people around America, I've seen an incredible number of parents who love each other and who love their children, but they don't ever show it to them. They don't have that affection. Children need that physical touching from their parents, that physical thing that says, "You're very special to me. You're my child. And I love you very much."
Dr. Dobson: The greatest enemy to that kind of relationship between parent and child is overcommitment. I'm sure you would agree with that. We talked a little bit last time about working mothers. There are women in our listening audience who have no choice, they have to work. And I'm always sensitive to their situation and not making them uncomfortable or feel guilty over life as it has to be. But you do address them to some degree in the book and talk about ways that, even when that occurs, you can preserve those relationships in the home. One of those you talked about was job-sharing. Describe that for us.
Zig Ziglar: Well, job-sharing is practiced by a number of firms in America today where there will be two ladies or two housewives, two mothers, who are literally sharing the same job. One works in the morning, the other in the afternoon, or one works three days this week and two days next week. That enables them to have extra time with their families, provides that cushion of income, which is so critical and needed, and overall it works wonderfully well for the employer because these part-timers are always there, just divided, their enthusiasm is higher, and their frustrations at not being able to spend time with their family are largely negated because they know they are spending the bulk of their time with their child.
Dr. Dobson: They should be fresher, also, at least compared to the full-time mother who's working at night, trying to wash and clean and do all those other things and work too.
Zig Ziglar: Well, the statistical data proves beyond any doubt that their productivity is considerably higher.
Dr. Dobson: Are employers willing to do that? Are they willing to experiment in that way? Are you finding that increasing?
Zig Ziglar: A lot of them are, Jim, and one reason for it is that the part-timer does not have all of the fringe benefits from insurance and retirement and this sort of thing in profit-sharing. So as a practical matter, then the employer is getting better help at a lower price. So they are excited about it and enthusiastic. And still in the sales world, also, we have a lot of people, a lot of housewives, who do that because they can set their own hours for work. I have numbers of friends who do that.
Dr. Dobson: Hmm. Is there some other advice that you would offer to the woman who has to work?
Zig Ziglar: Well, by all means, I would encourage her to think in terms of organization of her time when she does get home. As you know, I'm one of these people who happens to believe that television has been a very negative influence in our society. So I encourage, first of all, that they carefully, carefully, carefully monitor the amount of time they spend in front of that television set devoted to the child.
Dr. Dobson: I'm sure, Zig, that you're concerned about the single mother today, who is trying to do it all. She really does have a tough assignment, doesn't she?
Zig Ziglar: Perhaps the toughest assignment in America because the most important job in America is the raising of our children. That's where the best brains really are required. But as you've said, if the mother must work, then she must because it is better for her to let her child see an example of industriousness than for her to be subsisting on welfare. And so the single mother does have that incredible job. She needs, certainly, our support and sympathy if she has to work, and not our condemnation. And as you said, we don't want to make her feel guilty, but we do empathize with her situation.
Dr. Dobson: Zig, I'm bouncing all over the place with questions because I'm trying to cover the many, many topics in your book, which just go in a thousand different directions. But I must not let this interview end without talking to you about sex education. You have some strong feelings about that.
Zig Ziglar: Very much so, Jim. In 99.9% of the cases, sex education in our schools is not really sex education, it's sex invitation. In Sweden and Denmark and in the cities in America where sex education is taught in the school, without exception, there have been an increase in illegitimate births, pregnancies, abortions, and venereal disease.
Dr. Dobson: Zig, I believe that, but you cannot imagine how passionately those on the other side don't believe that. I mean, to them, it is totally irrational to think that you can't sit down and explain contraception and other aspects of sex education and reduce or eliminate those problems. In fact, it goes up.
Zig Ziglar: Well, the interesting thing is that, once a person has bought an idea, it's very difficult to persuade them otherwise. Their reasoning goes out the door. But as a good friend of mine often said, "Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. Nobody is entitled to the wrong facts." And the facts are clear that those incidences of venereal disease and abortions and pregnancies increase in every case where sex invitation is taught in the schools.
Now, obviously we need sex education. There's a desperate need for it. My research in this book indicated that over 90% of the parents never teach their children anything about sex, and, of those who do teach them, in most cases they teach them too late. So the parents must do it. So the question is when, where, and how. Well, you indirectly teach sex education from birth. The relationship that the husband and wife have with each other is by far the most effective method. If you love and respect your mate, if you're affectionate with your mate to the degree that you hold hands with them, put your arms around them, a quick kiss, never letting the child see something they cannot participate in is the key. Then when they get to be about three, three and a half years old, there's a wonderful little book out by Concordia entitled I Wonder, I Wonder, and you simply let that book be part of the child's library. And when you read the other books, you pick this one up and share the message in it. One of the myths is, "Wait until the child asks." The vast majority-
Dr. Dobson: They're never going to ask.
Zig Ziglar: ... are never going to ask. And, Jim, here's a tremendous side benefit from this. As you know, something like 80% of sexual abuse, as far as a child's concerned, incest, are that sexual abuse committed by the stepfather, the father, the uncle, the grandfather, the minister, the teacher, the scout master, or whatever, 80% of it's committed by people whom you love and trust. And when you teach this sex education in the home properly from the beginning, you virtually eliminate that happening. For example, one of the things they recommend is to get a modest bathing suit and put on your child. And then instruct the child that nobody is to touch any part of their body which is covered by this bathing suit without parental permission. And that clears it for the doctor when they take the child to the doctor to have the examination.
One of the things that intrigued me, I read a book, The Heart Does Not Speak English. It's written by a psychiatrist from Phoenix. And he points out that between the ages of about five or six up until puberty, that if you artificially stimulate your child sexually that you do irreparable damage. He says that's the period for a latent development. Little boys need to be learning how to play little boy games and get along with little boys. Little girls need to be playing little girl games and getting along with little girls. So he says, "You do not stimulate them through television programs or pornography or anything like that. Otherwise you delay their advent into being adults." One of the reasons today we have a lot of 25 and 35 year olds who are still dependent upon their parents for support: they never grew up.
Dr. Dobson: I think the research on that subject is crystal clear, Zig. And it breaks my heart that all across the country right now sexual abuse of children at home is taking place. Zig, you took some advice that I offered one time and took your teenager off on a trip to talk about some of these things. You were telling me earlier of the consequences of that, describe it for us.
Zig Ziglar: Jim, it was one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. My son was 16, and for his birthday, we took that long weekend. And I was sharing with him the no-no's of premarital sex. And I shared them from a practical point of view. I said to begin with, God says it's a sin. Sex outside of marriage, under any conditions, is a sin, unless it's in the bonds of matrimony. Now I said, "Son, that's all I'm going to say about what God has to say about it, but let's look at the practical aspects of it. To begin with, this little girl you're courting right now might or might not be the right one that God's chosen for you. If you abstain from sex today, when you're at the height of your passion at this age, then when and if you do get married, you will have established a foundation for marriage that namely is trust, because the day is going to come when you will be apart, either because she's carrying your child or because you're away on business, that trust is important."
I said, "The second thing, if you get involved in sex, is the fact that pregnancy might result. And then you're confronted with a difficult decision, do we have an abortion? For us, that's not a decision at all because we know the Bible says that abortion is murder. And so that eliminates that. If you end up marrying the girl, then all of your plans for life and all of her plans for life go down the drain. If you give the baby up for adoption, then the fact is all of your life you'll know there's a little boy or a little girl out there somewhere who's yours. And you'll wonder about him." But I said, "Son, you know, if you refrain, wouldn't it be wonderful to someday know that that girl has said, 'My first serious romance was with Tom Ziglar. He treated me like a lady. I treasure that very much.'"
But I said, "Son, there are other reasons. If you get involved in sex, it could lead to promiscuity. Venereal disease is always there." Then I kind of smiled and said, "Of course they say sex is temporary, but herpes is forever." And, obviously, if AIDS is involved, then forever doesn't take very long to get here. But I said, "Son, there's another thing. And that is that you never get acquainted with a girl if you get involved in sex with them." Now, I said, "I know that sounds ridiculous. But when you establish a sexual relationship, that's all you're interested in. You'll become a lying, cheating conniver. You will maneuver and manipulate. You'll work every arrangement known to a human being to get back in bed with the girl. You'll sever the relationship of love and trust between us and you, or you'll damage it, and certainly between the girl and her parents." I said, "Overall, you won't talk about how many children should we have? Which church should we go to? What kind of job will we have? What's our philosophy on discipline?" I said, "You'll never get acquainted with the girl."
Zig Ziglar: It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
Dr. Dobson: You spent most of the weekend talking about sex then?
Zig Ziglar: Sure did. Yeah that was the purpose.
Dr. Dobson: Did he buy it? How'd he receive it?
Zig Ziglar: Jim, he bought it hook, line, and sinker. He bought the whole program. But let me hasten to add, I think that was because he had witnessed his mother and I all of his life. All of our lives, I've treated his mother like a lady. I always open the door for her, show her respect, treat her for what she is as my help-meet. And probably the most beautiful single moment I've ever had with one of my children took place just before we left for home. He said, "Dad, my idea of heaven on earth takes place every November the 26th when I see you and mom take off for the three days you always set aside just for each other to celebrate the anniversary of your marriage."
Dr. Dobson: He had observed that even though he wasn't a participant in it, he had no role to play in it. That was heaven on earth to him?
Zig Ziglar: Yes, it was, Jim.
Dr. Dobson: It shows you the importance of the parent relationship to each of our kids.
Zig Ziglar: Yes. You know, some psychiatrists say the most important thing a parent can do for his child is to love their mate by far because that does establish so much. One other little thing, Jim, which was so meaningful in our lives. When my son was… oh, he was 15 or 16, along about the time this happened, I asked him one day, I said, "Son, if somebody asks you what you liked best about your dad, what would you say?" And almost without a pause, he said, "Dad, I'd say the thing I like best about my dad is that he loves my mom." And I said, "Well, son, why would you say that?" He said, "Dad, I'd say that because I know as long as you love mom, you're going to treat her right. And if you treat her right, we'll always be a family because mom sure does love you." And he said, "Dad, I'll never have to choose between you and mom." Now, Jim, I had no way of knowing it, but that very day one of his closest friends had been given that choice of living with mom and dad. The security of that child is so dramatically enhanced if they know that mom and dad are a team.
Dr. Dobson: You told me earlier today, Zig, that you have never in your life met one happy person who did not conform to a particular set of circumstances. Repeat it.
Zig Ziglar: I'll be delighted to. I kind of elaborate on this. I've had some rare privileges in life. I've been on the platform with two presidents and a lot of superstars in the various fields. But for 14 years I knocked on doors, I was in the cookware business. And I've been in homes, Jim, where I could literally look through the floor and see the ground underneath. I've crossed every socio-economic, ethnic, racial line in America. And all of these years, I've never met a single man or a woman who was married, not even one, who was happy, who was not totally and completely loyal to their mates. Period. I'm not preaching. I'm not moralizing. I'm simply saying that if an individual has happiness as a goal and they're married, they have no options. They must be faithful to their mate.
Dr. Dobson: Why do you think that's true, Zig?
Zig Ziglar: Because that's part of God's plan. And anytime you violate God's plan, you're just going to go astray. One of the things I must include in here, my wife and I have always had a good relationship. And if you had asked me 20 years ago, if I loved her, I would have emphatically have said yes, but, Jim, I didn't really know what it was to love a person until I committed my life to Christ in 1972. When you love through Christ, there's a whole different ball game. And that's the reason our closeness has been so much more these last few years.
Dr. Dobson: Zig, there are people listening to us who don't know what we're talking about. In fact, they're frustrated by it. I know that because I've heard from them when I've spoken in these terms in the past. And they say, "How nice for you that you and your wife love each other. I don't feel that for my husband or for my wife." And maybe they don't know what we're talking, what you're talking about in regard to the love of Jesus Christ. In our closing moments here, explain that, will you? There's somebody out there that has never come into a personal relationship with that Savior. And that's the foundation of the family in the home.
Zig Ziglar: Of the whole thing. Let me throw in from a Christian psychiatrist, Dr. George Crane says that if you've fallen out of love with your mate, that if you'll go back and court them, as you did when you fell in love, that you will fall back in love with them. And I've found that to be true in a lot of different areas of life. The physical action is enormously helpful.
Now, our walk with the Lord, in my judgment, is the key to the whole thing though, Jim. When I talk about faith in Christ, when a person understands what we read in Ephesians 2:8-9 that for by grace through faith are you saved. That not of yourself, not of works lest any man should boast, but simply by committing your life to Christ. Accepting his gift of salvation, then the old is washed away, the old man, the old human nature is replaced by the new. Now, that doesn't mean all of your old habits are replaced, but you now see things in a different light as you walk with Him.
When I bowed my head on that July 4th weekend in 1972 and asked Christ to forgive me for my sins, that I did believe he was born of the Virgin Mary, that I did believe he lived a sinless life, that he did go to the cross, that he did spend those three days in the tomb, that he did arise triumphant over death. When I made that commitment to him as Lord, at that moment, the new Zig Ziglar came into being. And if our listeners will make their commitment, their profession of faith to Christ, then if the old person could not love their husband or the old person could not love their wife, the new person through Christ is very capable of loving that new creature in Christ.
Dr. Dobson: Will it make you a better parent?
Zig Ziglar: Well, I believe it makes you an infinitely better parent because you learn a different kind of love. And the Bible, again, is so full of practical advice on raising positive kids in a negative world.
Dr. Dobson: The Bible is the ultimate positive statement, isn't it?
Zig Ziglar: Amen.
Dr. Dobson: Zig, you are a positive friend of mine. You have a tremendous influence on me and I again appreciate your willingness to share your years of personal experience, your own family life with us here. And so much of that is tucked into the words of this book, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World.
Roger Marsh: You have been listening to the conclusion of a program that we have titled "Positive Parenting" here on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, and boy, what a great program we just heard today. Now, if you'd like to learn more about Zig Ziglar's book, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World, you can visit our website at drjamesdobson.org. We have a link for the book there. You can also call us toll free at (877) 732-6825. And we'll give you the information over the phone.
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